Highlights from UK baseball/softball media day

February 4, 2013

Highlights from Monday’s baseball/softball media at the University of Kentucky’s Wildcat Den.

Pre-season All-America CF Austin Cousino fields questions during UK Baseball Media Day. (Mark Maloney photo)

Leading off with baseball, as high as No. 8 (Collegiate Baseball) in the pre-season rankings.

The Wildcats are coming off a school-record 45-18 season, 18-13 in the Southeastern Conference, and an NCAA regional berth.

“We’re excited to get the season going. We’ve got a great group of kids,” Coach Gary Henderson said. “Lots of energy in the program. Lots of excitement with returning kids that have done well here, had good summers, had impressive falls. It’s a good group of kids. They like each other. They like to practice. They like to play. So it’s an exciting time for us.”

The Cats’ weekend (SEC) rotation sets up with left-handers Jerad Grundy, A.J. Reed and Corey Littrell.

“We’ve got four guys in my mind that could easily be weekend starters but, obviously, it’s only going to be three. And because of what we’ve got in the bullpen, it seems to make sense to hold the right-hander back.”

The right-hander being Chandler Shepherd, a sophomore out of Lawrence County.

“We need what he has in the bullpen, so that’s what we’ll start,” Henderson said. “Sometimes things change, and sometimes they don’t. There’s been years here we’ve been the same three guys the entire year. We’ll see how it goes. But that’s three talented kids and they’ll do a very good job of competing and throwing strikes.”

Having lost the powerful tandem of Michael Williams and Luke Maile, catcher is the most notable void to be filled.

“We’ve got Micheal Thomas, who’s in front right now,” Henderson said. “We’ve got three other guys — Greg Fettes is a redshirt freshman; Zach Arnold and Casey Schroeder are freshman. All three of the kids have been drafted, so we’ve got some talented kids back there.

“I’m really happy with Micheal Thomas’ progression  and development, maturity and growth and all those things that you look for. He’s done a great job. If anybody who’s followed the program at all during my time here … you know that I’m a big advocate of two catchers. Doesn’t mean that you have to do it that way; I just like to do it that way, for a couple of reasons. That’s exactly what we’ll shoot for this year. Micheal Thomas right now is the guy that we’re going to run out there early, and see which one of those other three guys can grow into that position.”

The baseball Cats open the season Feb. 15, facing UNC-Asheville at Wofford. The home opener, against Murray State, is set for Feb. 26.

* UK softball opens Friday, taking on California — the first of six games the Cats will play at Tempe, Ariz.

UK’s first 20 games will be on the road while finishing touches are being put on UK’s renovated home complex.

After playing at Tempe, the Cats will play in tournaments at San Diego, Spartanburg (S.C.) and Tampa. The home opener, against Marshall, is set for March 6.

UK will be home to the Southeastern Conference tournament, May 8-11.

Coach Rachel Lawson said she focused on adding power and speed in what is viewed as an outstanding freshman class. She anticipates that four or five newcomers could land starting jobs.

The Cats made their fourth consecutive NCAA appearance last season, finishing 30-30.

 


Wildcats down Gamecocks 9-3, take series 2-1

May 9, 2010
NINTH INNING – UK made a defensive change, Sam Kidd replacing Neiko Johnson in RF. RH Braden Kapteyn fanned pinch-hitter Parker Bangs, but beaned pinch-hitter Jeffery Jones. Whit Merrifield went down swinging and Jackie Bradley Jr. bounced out to second. FINAL SCORE: KENTUCKY 9, SOUTH CAROLINA 3.
Braden Kapteyn

Braden Kapteyn

Cory Farris

Cory Farris

Chris Bisson

Chris Bisson

EIGHTH INNING — RH Braden Kapteyn came out of the UK bullpen to open the inning. He struck out Adrian Morales. Pinch-hitters Evan Marzilli and Brady Thomas lined to first and struck out, respectively. Marzilli stayed in the game in LF, Thomas at C. The Gamecocks also brought in their eighth pitcher of the game, RH Ethan Carter. Marcus Nidiffer coaxed a leadoff walk and was bunted to second by Taylor Black. Keenan Wiley was hit by a pitch. Cory Farris lined an RBI-double to the right-field corner, Wiley going to third. That brought another Carolina pitching change, this time going to RH Patrick Sullivan. With the infield pulled in, Neiko Johnson walked on five pitches to load the bases. Chris Bisson lined a first-pitch, two-run single to right, Johnson holding up at second. The Wildcats then pulled off a double steal, a run scoring when Thomas’ throw to third got away for an error. Going to the ninth inning: Kentucky 9, South Carolina 3

Alex Meyer

Alex Meyer

SEVENTH INNING — Kentucky RH Alex Meyer struck out the Nos. 2-3-4 batters in a perfect seventh inning. In the bottom of the inning, Cory Farris pinch-hit for DH Michael Williams. Farris fanned. Neiko Johnson was hit by a pitch, then stole second, a call disputed by Carolina Coach Ray Tanner. Chris Bisson walked on a full-count pitch. Chad Wright’s 4-6 fielder’s choice put runners on the corners with two outs. Gunner Glad hit a high chopper, which caught SS Bobby Haney tried to short-hop. He was unable to come up with the ball, though, for a run-scoring error. Wright stopped at second. LH Tyler Webb came in to pitch, getting Lance Ray on a fly to left. After seven innings: Kentucky 5, South Carolina 3.

SIXTH INNING — Carolina got a leadoff single from Adam Matthews and a two-out walk from Scott Wingo. Both were stranded when leadoff batter Whit Merrifield grounded into a force play, dropping him to 0-for-4 in the game and 1-for-13 in the series. Carolina went with another pitcher in the bottom of the inning, RH Matt Price. He set the Wildcats down in order. After six innings: Kentucky 4, South Carolina 3.

Chad Wright

Chad Wright

FIFTH INNING — Carolina’s Christian Walker laced a one-out single up the middle, ending Alex Meyer’s string of consecutive batters retired at eight. UK’s Keenan Wiley went to the warning track in straightaway center to flag down fly balls by Jackie Bradley Jr. for the first out and Nick Ebert for the second. Adrian Morales struck out to strand Walker. Neiko Johnson led off UK’s half of the inning with a single. Gamecocks Coach Ray Tanner again went to his bullpen, pulling RH Jose Mata in favor of LH Michael Roth. Chris Bisson tried to bunt Johnson ahead but got too much on the ball and Roth threw out Johnson at second. Bisson stole second, though, and scored on Chad Wright’s single up the middle. Tanner called to his bullpen for RH John Taylor. Gunner Glad fouled out and LH Steven Neff became the Gamecocks’ fourth pitcher of the inning. On Neff’s first pitch, Wright stole second, but was stranded when Lance Ray struck out. After five innings: Kentucky 4, South Carolina 3.

Taylor Black

Taylor Black

FOURTH INNING — The Gamecocks went down in order for the second inning in a row. UK got its third solo homer of the game, a one-out drive down the short (310-foot) right-field line by Taylor Black. His ninth dinger of the season tied the game at 3. Keenan Wiley followed with a single to right, knocking out Gamecocks RH Jay Brown. Coach Ray Tanner turned to RH submariner Jose Mata. Wiley was thrown out trying to steal and Michael Williams struck out.  After four innings: Kentucky 3, South Carolina 3.

THIRD INNING — Carolina went down 1-2-3 on grounders to 2B Chris Bisson, the first of which was an outstanding play on a ball up the middle

Marcus Nidiffer

Marcus Nidiffer

and robbed Adrian Morales of a hit. UK’s Neiko Johnson drew a leadoff walk. One out later, he advanced to second on Chad Wright’s groundout. Then, as Gunner Glad drew a walk, Johnson stole third. However, Lance Ray lined out to second. After three innings: South Carolina 3, Kentucky 2.

SECOND INNING — RH Alex Meyer again retired the first two Gamecocks of the inning, but then walked Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Walker. This time, though, Meyer escaped by getting Nick Ebert with a called third strike. Marcus Nidiffer then halved the deficit, leading off the bottom of the inning with his eighth homer of the season — a 1-0 offering that carried over the wall in left. After two innings: South Carolina 3, Kentucky 2.
Adrian Morales

Adrian Morales

Adam Matthews

Adam Matthews

Gunner Glad

Gunner Glad

FIRST INNING — Kentucky RH Alex Meyer, making his first appearance since April 11 due to mononucleosis, retired the first two batters he faced, then ran into a storm. Christian Walker reached on a fielding error by 2B Chris Bisson. Nick Ebert was hit by a pitch. Adrian Morales singled up the middle to drive in Walker and move Ebert to second. Adam Matthews singled to right, scoring Ebert and advancing Morales to third. Morales scored on a passed ball charged to Marcus Nidiffer, making it 3-0. Kyle Enders was hit by a pitch. Finally, Bobby Haney struck out. Gunner Glad put Kentucky on the board, driving a first-pitch offering far over the wall down the left-field line. His 11th homer of the season also pushed his hitting streak to 11 games and gave him 27 consecutive games reaching safely. After one inning: South Carolina 3, Kentucky 1.

Pre-game — South Carolina and Kentucky are about set to begin the deciding game in a three-game Southeastern Conference baseball series at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

The Gamecocks won Friday’s opener 13-9. Kentucky bounced back Saturday with a 2-1 triumph.

Sunday’s starting lineups:

SOUTH CAROLINA (36-10 overall, 17-6 SEC) — Whit Merrifield RF; Jackie Bradley Jr. CF; Christian Walker 1B; Nick Ebert DH; Adrian Morales 3B; Adam Matthews LF; Kyle Enders C; Bobby Haney SS; Scott Wingo 2B. Pitching: RH Jay Brown (2-0, 4.72).

KENTUCKY (25-21, 8-15) — Chris Bisson 2B; Chad Wright LF; Gunner Glad 3B; Lance Ray 1B; Marcus Nidiffer C; Taylor Black SS; Keenan Wiley CF; Michael Williams DH; Neiko Johnson RF. Pitching: RH Alex Meyer (4-2, 7.30).

UMPIRES — Keith Sanders HP; Tony Maners 1B; Randy Watkins 3B.

Weather — 50 degrees, wind 4 mph from the north.


Cards bounce back in ninth to skin Cats 10-9

April 28, 2010

UK Coach Gary Henderson brought in closer Matt Little to open the bottom of the ninth. Attendance is reported at 4,039, a U of L regular-season record and fourth-largest all-time at Patterson Stadium. Little, a right-hander, got Drew Haynes to ground out to second. Jeff Arnold singled up the middle and Adam Duvall was hit by a pitch. That brought Andrew Clark to the plate with the potential tying run. His double to left-center scored Arnold and put Duvall on third with one out. Ryan Wright brought both runners home with a bloop single to right-center. Make the score 9-9, one on, one out and U of L home-run leader Phil Wunderlich stepping to the plate. Wunderlich lined a single to left, pushing Wright up to second. With Little behind Stewart Ijams 2-0, UK Coach Gary Henderson went to his bullpen and righty Braden Kapteyn. Two quick balls, the second sailing to the screen, loaded the bases. Zak Wasserman lined a 1-0 pitch over shortstop to drive in Wright with the game-winning run. Final totals:

Kentucky   9-12-0
Louisville 10-17-3

UK scores five in top of ninth

With one out in the top of the ninth, consecutive singles by Chris Bisson, Chad Wright and Gunner Glad scored a run to cut Louisville’s lead to 6-5. Lance Ray doubled to right, driving in Wright with the tying run. An intentional walk to Keenan Wiley loaded the bases for pinch-hitter Navarro Hall, who walked on four pitches to force Glad in with the go-ahead run. Cory Farris hit a potential double play ball to second baseman Ryan Wright, who flipped to shortstop Adam Duvall for an out. Duvall’s relay to first, though, was both late and off target, the ball going into the U of L dugout. That allowed Ray and Wiley to score, and Farris to advance to second. Marcus Nidiffer fanned to end the frame. Going to the bottom of the ninth: Kentucky 9, Louisville 6.

Eighth inning

U of L brought Tony Zych in to pitch. A single and two hit batsmen loaded the bases for UK with two outs in the eighth. Neil Holland came out of the bullpen to strike out Marcus Nidiffer, though, ending the threat. Louisville pushed the lead to 6-4 when Phil Wunderlich led off with his 14th homer of the season. Going to the ninth inning: Louisville 6, Kentucky 4.

Seventh inning

U of L made a pair of defensive changes. Right-hander Justin Amlung took over on the mound and Drew Fitzpatrick replaced Kyle Grieshaber in left field. Amlung retired Cory Farris, but walked Luke Maile. Neiko Johnson came in to run for Maile. With Johnson running, U of L called for a pitchout, but the ball slipped out of catcher Jeff Arnold’s hand as he prepared to throw. One out later, Chris Bisson cranked a no-doubt home run to right. His third homer of the season cut Louisville’s lead to 5-4 and knocked out Amlung. Left-hander Dean Kiekhefer took over on the mound. He got Chad Wright on a grounder to third. In the bottom half, Marcus Nidiffer took over catching duties for UK. Jeff Arnold led off for U of L with an infield single to the hole at short. A groundout moved him to second, but Andrew Clark was called out on strikes and Ryan Wright groundout out. After seven innings: Louisville 5, Kentucky 4.

Sixth inning

Kentucky went down in order for the first time in the game. The Wildcats changed pitchers to open the bottom of the inning, turning to right-hander Sam Kidd. After getting one out, Kidd hit a batter and walked one, U of L’s first free bases of the game. So UK Coach Gary Henderson brought right-hander Nick Kennedy in from the bullpen. U of L Coach Dan McDonnell countered with a left-handed pinch-hitter, Zak Wasserman. His single to right loaded the bases. Phil Wunderlich scored from third on a passed ball, barely beating the throw from catcher Luke Maile to Kennedy. One out later, Drew Haynes’ shot up the middle deflected off Kennedy’s glove into left field. Stewart Ijames and Wasserman both scored, although Haynes was out when he tried to advance to second on the throw to the plate.  After six innings: Louisville 5, Kentucky 2.

Fifth inning

UK’s Chad Wright had a one-out single negated when Gunner Glad grounded into a double play. UK lefty Mike Kaczmarek retired the only batter he faced in the bottom of the inning. UK Coach Gary Henderson then went with a righty, Walter Wijas. Jeff Arnold put down a bunt single but was stranded there. After five innings: Kentucky 2, Louisville 2.

Fourth inning
Cade Stallings

Cade Stallings

Both teams changed pitchers to open the inning, calling on lefties. The Cardinals went with Bob Revesz, the Wildcats with Mike Kaczmarek. UK’s Cory Farris lined a one-out single but was caught by center fielder Drew Haynes when he tried to leg out a double. Luke Maile walked but was stranded. U of L’s Andrew Clark, Ryan Wright and Phil Wunderlich welcomed Kaczmarek with consecutive singles to load the bases. Clark scored when Stewart Ijames grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Cade Stallings doubled down the left-field line to plate Wright. A groundout ended the inning and left the score tied. After four innings: Kentucky 2, Louisville 2.

Third inning

UK wasted a two-out double by Lance Ray. U of L got a two-out hit from Adam Duvall, but left-fielder Chad Wright nailed him trying to stretch the hit to a double. After three innings: Kentucky 2, Louisville 0.

Second inning
Chris Bisson

Chris Bisson

Lance Ray

Lance Ray

UK added another unearned run. With one out, Michael Williams reached first base when right fielder Stewart Ijames unsuccessfully tried to fend off the sun and instead dropped the ball for an error. Cory Farris singled through the right side, moving Williams to second. Luke Maile blooped an RBI-single down the right-field line, with Farris advancing to third. A fielder’s choice tapper and fly out prevented further damage. In the bottom of the inning, Ryan Wright led off with an infield single, took second on Phil Wunderlich’s single through the left side and moved to third on Ijames’ lineout to center. Cade Stallings struck out, though, and Kyle Grieshaber was robbed of a hit to end the inning. UK second baseman Chris Bisson went behind the bag and first baseman Lance Ray made the stretch and scoop on snare Bisson’s throw. After two innings: Kentucky 2, Louisville 0.

First inning

Kentucky struck for an unearned run. Gunner Glad reached on a two-out ground-rule double that one-hopped the wall in right field. Lance Ray struck out, but the wild pitch by Derek Self got past catcher Jeff Arnold and went back to the screen. Arnold’s throw to first baseman Andrew Clark was high, but second baseman Ryan Wright backed up the play and caught the ball on the fly. Glad never hesitated and continued around third for the plate. Wright’s throw home, where Self was covering, was too late to nab the sliding Wildcat. Ray was caught stealing for the third out. UK right-hander Jordan Self retired the Cardinals in order, getting a pair of groundouts and an infield fly. After one inning: Kentucky 1, Louisville 0.

Pre-game

It’s 63 degrees and mostly sunny at Patterson Stadium in Louisville, where Kentucky is visiting U of L’s 12th-ranked Cardinals.

UK is looking for a season sweep, having won 5-0 three weeks ago at Lexington.

A ceremonial first pitch has been thrown by U of L (and former UK) basketball coach Rick Pitino – high and inside if a right-hander had been at the plate.

The starting lineups:

KENTUCKY (23-17) — Chris Bisson 2B, Chad Wright LF, Gunner Glad 3B, Lance Ray 1B, Keenan Wiley CF, Michael Williams DH, Cory Farris RF, Luke Maile C, Taylor Black SS. Pitching: RH Jordan Cooper (2-3, 6.49).

LOUISVILLE (32-7) — Jeff Arnold C, Adam Duvall SS, Andrew Clark 1B, Ryan Wright 2B, Phil Wunderlich 3B, Stewart Ijames RF, Cade Stallings DH, Kyle Grieshaber LF, Drew Haynes CF. Pitching: RH Derek Self (6-0, 3.95).

UMPIRES – Keith Shartzer HP, Bryan Donnelly 1B, Scott Kennedy 3B.


SEC baseball final: Florida 6, Kentucky 3

April 17, 2010

Florida padded its lead in the ninth. Daniel Pigott reached on a two-out bunt single. Preston Tucker lined a 1-1 pitch over the right-field wall for his fifth homer of the season, making it 6-2 for the Gators. Florida called on LH Kevin Chapman to close out the Cats. Andy Burns jumped on Chapman’s first pitch, driving his 11th homer of the season off the top of the scoreboard. Braden Kapteyn fouled out. Keenan Wiley appeared to beat out a high chopper to second, but was called out. When Marcus Nidiffer singled up the middle, Henderson referred back to the previous play. First base umpire Ray Miller ejected Henderson, the first time that has happened in the coach’s career. Neiko Johnson grounded out. Final score: Florida 6, Kentucky 3.

Eighth inning

Neiko Johnson came into the game in right field for UK, batting in the No. 8 slot. Florida’s Matt den Dekker drew a one-out walk, stole second and reached third on a groundout. Josh Adams struck out, then yelled something — apparently to a Kentucky player — and was ejected by plate umpire Fred Cannon. Adams was replaced in the field, second base, by Cody Dent. UK got a two-out single by Chad Wright. Florida made a pitching change, going to RH Jeff Barfield. He got Gunner Glad on a fly to deep center, thus stranding UK’s 13th runner of the game. After eight innings: Florida 4, Kentucky 2.

Seventh inning

For the sixth inning in a row, Florida got a leadoff hit, a double down the right-field line for Nolan Fontana. (Five of the six leadoff hits went for extra bases.) Daniel Pigott’s sacrifice bunt advanced Fontana to third. Preston Tucker brought him home with a sacrifice fly to right. UK Coach Gary Henderson then pulled starter Taylor Rogers. Braden Kapteyn, already in the game as the Wildcats’ DH, come on in relief and retired Austin Maddox on a grounder to shortstop. In the bottom of the inning, Kapteyn reached on a two-out fielding error by 3B Bryson Smith. Keenan Wiley walked and Marcus Nidiffer was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Florida Coach Kevin O’Sullivan called to the bullpen for Nick Maronde, the lefty out of Lexington Catholic. UK Coach Gary Henderson countered, sending Michael Williams to bat for Cory Farris. After falling behind 1-2, Williams worked the count full before chasing a pitch down and away. After seven innings: Florida 4, Kentucky 2.

Sixth inning

Florida quickly mounted a threat in the sixth. Austin Maddox led off with a double off the right-field wall where the scoreboard was once located, making him 3-for-3. Jonathon Pigott put down a bunt. Pitcher Taylor Rogers tried to get Maddox at third, but his throw was a hair late as Pigott reached first. Matt den Dekker went down swinging. Florida loaded the bases, though, when Rogers was unable to make a clean pickup of Bryson Smith’s check-swing bunt. Rogers caught Josh Adams taking a called third strike, then retired Mike Zunino on a high fly to right. The Wildcats got a runner when Taylor Black was hit by a pitch for the second consecutive at-bat. He advanced no further, though. After six innings: Florida 3, Kentucky 2.

Fifth inning

Florida got a leadoff single from Mike Zunino, but he was erased on a 4-6-3 — Chris Bisson-to-Taylor Black-to-Gunner Glad — double play. Daniel Pigott was hit by a pitch, but stranded at first. Andy Burns led off UK’s half of the inning with a walk, reaching safely for his third straight appearance of the night. The Wildcats didn’t do any damage, though, stranding their eighth runner of the game. After five innings: Florida 3, Kentucky 2.

Fourth inning

For the second consecutive inning, Florida struck with a leadoff home run to the scoreboard in left-center. This time, Austin Maddox cranked his 11th bomb of the season. Bryson Smith added a two-out single but was stranded. Kentucky used a hustle-double by Cory Farris, a hit batsman (Taylor Black) and a walk (Chris Bisson) to load the bases with nobody out. Florida Coach Kevin O’Sullivan lifted Hudson Randall in favor of RH Greg Larson. Chad Wright grounded to 3B Bryson Smith, who stepped on the bag to force Black, then threw in time to double up Wright at first. Farris scored, though, cutting Florida’s lead to 3-2. Bisson was stranded at second. After four innings: Florida 3, Kentucky 2.

Third inning

No. 9 hitter Mike Zunino led off the top of the inning with his third homer of the season, to the scoreboard in left-center, to give Florida a 2-1 lead. Wildcats LH Taylor Rogers retired the top of the order 1-2-3. In the bottom of the frame, UK wasted a leadoff single as Andy Burns was picked off. With two outs, Keenan Wiley reached when 2B Josh Adams booted a ground ball, but got no further. That pushed UK’s total runners left on base to six. After three innings: Florida 2, Kentucky 1.

Second inning

Florida opened the scoring with a run in the top of the second. Austin Maddox knocked a leadoff double to the gap in left-center, then moved on third on Jonathan Pigott’s sacrifice bunt. Matt den Dekker drove Maddox in, lining a single over 2B Chris Bisson. Den Dekker stole second base but was stranded there. In the bottom of the inning, with one out, Marcus Nidiffer was hit by a pitch. He was retired on a fielder’s choice grounder by Cory Farris. Farris stole second and, as Taylor Black drew a walk, Farris swiped third. Chris Bisson also walked, loading the bases for Chad Wright. Gators RH Hudson Randall threw four straight balls, forcing in Farris with the tying run. Gunner Glad grounded to 3B Bryson Smith, who stepped on the bag to force Bisson.  After two innings: Kentucky 1, Florida 1.

First inning

Kentucky LH Taylor Rogers retired Florida in order on eight pitches, getting two groundouts and a pop foul. In the bottom of the inning, Gunner Glad lined a two-out single, then advanced on a passed ball and a wild pitch. Andy Burns held up on a full-count pitch to draw a walk. Both runners were stranded when Braden Kapteyn flied to center. After one inning: Kentucky 0, Florida 0.

Pre-game

Florida, a 10-8 winner Friday night, is about to take on Kentucky in game two of a three-game Southeastern Conference baseball series at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Starting lineups

FLORIDA (24-9 overall, 9-4 SEC) — SS Nolan Fontana; RF Daniel Pigott; 1B Preston Tucker; DH Austin Maddox; LF Jonathan Pigott; CF Matt den Dekker; 3B Bryson Smith; 2B Josh Adams; C Mike Zunino. Pitching: RH Hudson Randall (3-3, 3.98).

KENTUCKY (21-13, 4-9) — 2B Chris Bisson; LF Chad Wright; 1B Gunner Glad; 3B Andy Burns; DH Braden Kapteyn; CF Keenan Wiley; C Marcus Nidiffer; RF Cory Farris; SS Taylor Black. Pitching: LH Taylor Rogers (4-3, 4.86).

UMPIRES — HP Fred Cannon; 1B Ray Miller; 3B Ricky Armstrong.


SEC baseball final: Alabama 11, Kentucky 9

April 11, 2010

In the ninth, Michael Williams took over at catcher for Kentucky, batting in the eighth spot. Alabama’s Jake Smith reached on a one-out single and took second on a wild pitch. David Kindred singled off the glove of pitcher Matt Little, Smith moving to third. Brett Booth came in to run for Kindred, but Little immediately picked him off, 1-3-6. Andrew Miller’s infield single, a high hopper over Little’s head, scored Smith. Miller moved up a base on Brock Bennett’s single to right. Little plunked Taylor Dugas, loading the bases and prompting another pitching change — RH Braden Kapteyn, who was already in the lineup at DH. Josh Rutledge swung at Kapteyn’s first pitch, flying out to second baseman Chris Bisson in shallow right. In the bottom of the ninth, Cory Farris flied to center. Bisson doubled to right-center, bringing Chad Wright to the plate with the potential tying run. Wright lined out to left, though. On a 3-2 pitch, Gunner Glad took a called third strike on the inside corner.

Final totals
Alabama 11 runs, 14 hits 2 errors
Kentucky 9 runs, 17 hits, 2 errors
Eight inning: Alabama takes lead with 5-run inning

Cory Farris stayed in the game for UK, taking Neiko Johnson’s spot in right field. Jon Kelton led off the inning for Alabama with a double to right-center. Jake Smith singled up the middle, advancing Kelton to third. RH Jordan Cooper came in from the UK bullpen, taking over from Nick Kennedy. David Kindred’s double down the right-field line scored Kelton and moved Smith the third. Andrew Miller’s infield single to shortstop scored Smith. Brock Bennett put down a bunt, fielded by Cooper. Chris Bisson, covering at first, simply dropped Cooper’s toss for an error and loading the bases with nobody out. Everybody moved up on Taylor Dugas’ bounce-out to second base, Kindred crossing the plate to cut UK’s lead to 9-8. RH Matt Little came in from the UK bullpen. Josh Rutledge blooped a two-run single to center, giving the Tide a 10-9 lead. A wild pickoff attempt by Little moved Rutledge to second. Little retired the next two batters, though, to hold Alabama to nine batters in the inning. In the bottom of the inning, Alabama went with its sixth pitcher of the day, RH Nathan Kilcrease. Andy Burns just missed a homer, sending left-fielder Kelton to the warning track for a long out. Braden Kapteyn walked, then advanced two bases on Keenan Wiley’s single to right. Taylor Black took a called third strike. With Lance Ray hitting for Marcus Nidiffer, Wiley stole second without a play. But Ray struck out. After eight innings: Alabama 10, Kentucky 9.

Seventh inning: Both sides strand runners

Alabama’s Taylor Dugas knocked a one-out single to right. UK Coach Gary Henderson called on RH Nick Kennedy to relieve LH Mike Kaczmarek. A wild pitch put Dugas in scoring position. One out later, Ross Wilson battled back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk. Kennedy got Clay Jones to bounce to short for an inning-ending force play at second. Cory Farris pinch-hit for Neiko Johnson and flied out to open the bottom of the inning. Chris Bisson drew a walk. One out later, he stole second and took third on a wild pitch. However, Gunner Glad struck out. After seven innings: Kentucky 9, Alabama 5.

Sixth inning: Slam highlights Bama’s 5-run inning
Jake Smith

Jake Smith

After a long rest in the dugout, RH Alex Meyer walked Alabama leadoff man Taylor Dugas and added a base via a wild pitch.  Josh Rutledge singled up the middle, moving Dugas to third. After a visit from Coach Gary Henderson, Meyer got Ross Wilson on a fly to shallow right, but walked Clay Jones to load the bases. Henderson then went to the bullpen, calling on LH Mike Kaczmarek. He hit Jon Kelton with a pitch, forcing in Dugas with the Tide’s first run. Jake Smith then ripped a 1-2 pitch over the center-field wall, his second career grand slam against UK and his fourth slam overall. Kaczmarek got the next two batters to end a five-run, two-hit inning. In the bottom half, Alabama went to its fifth pitcher of the game, RH Tyler White. Braden Kapteyn led off with his third hit of the game, a single to center. Kapteyn moved up on Keenan Wiley’s bunt and Taylor Black’s groundout, but was stranded at third. After six innings: Kentucky 9, Alabama 5.

Fifth inning: UK bats around in six-run inning
Alex Meyer

Alex Meyer

Wildcats RHP Alex Meyer continued to cruise, setting Alabama down in order. Then UK built on its lead. Andy Burns led off with a triple to the left-field corner, then came home on Braden Kapteyn’s second RBI-single of the game. Keenan Wiley beat out a bunt single, putting runners on first and second. Taylor Black also put down a bunt — which LHP David Head threw into right field for a run-scoring, two-base error. When the throw to second was bobbled by shortstop Josh Rutledge, for a second error on the play, Wiley also scored. The Crimson Tide changed pitchers, bringing in LH Matt Taylor. He beaned Marcus Nidiffer. Neiko Johnson’s bunt moved runners to second and third. One out later, Chad Wright came through with his third hit of the game, a two-run single to left, and took second base on the throw. Wright scored on Gunner Glad’s third hit of the game, a single up the middle. Burns, who led off the inning, lined out to right. After five innings: Kentucky 9, Alabama 0.

Taylor Black

Taylor Black

Fourth inning: Wildcats stretch lead to 3-0

Alabama got its second hit of the game, by Jon Kelton, and like the first one it was a double. It came with two outs, though, and RH Alex Meyer struck out Jake Smith for the second time to strand Kelton. Taylor Black led off the UK half of the inning with his fourth homer of the season, the ball glancing off the top of the left-field wall. Marcus Nidiffer followed with a single to left, his second hit in as many at-bats. That knocked out RH Tucker Hawley, who was replaced by LH David Head. Neiko Johnson bunted Nidiffer to second. One out later, Chad Wright sent an RBI-double to the right-field corner. Wright was stranded. After four innings: Kentucky 3, Alabama 0.

Third inning: UK strikes first
Braden Kapteyn

Braden Kapteyn

Alabama’s Taylor Dugas drew a two-out, full-count walk. He moved to second on a balk by Alex Meyer. But Josh Rutledge, who doubled in the first inning, grounded out to shortstop. UK got a two-out single by Gunner Glad, making him 2-for-2. Andy Burns walked on four pitches. Braden Kapteyn’s single to left plated Glad, moved Burns to second and finished Bama LH Taylor Wolfe. Coach Mitch Gaspard summoned RH Tucker Hawley from the bullpen. He got Keenan Wiley to fly to center. After three innings, Kentucky 1, Alabama 0.

Second inning: Meyer in control

RH Alex Meyer retired Alabama in order. Included was a strikeout, his third of the game. LH Taylor Wolfe set down the first two Kentucky batters, before Marcus Nidiffer doubled to left. Neiko Johnson struck out to end the threat. After two innings, no score.

First inning: Cats waste scoring chance

Alabama got a one-out double from Josh Rutledge, but RH Alex Meyer was otherwise in contol and Rutledge was stranded. In the bottom of the inning, Chris Bisson led off with a swinging-bunt single and advanced to second on Chad Wright’s single up the middle. Bisson was picked off by catcher Brock Bennett, a play that would end up costing a run. Gunner Glad made it three singles in a row, lining a 3-2 pitch to left. Wright needed every bit of his considerable speed to make it safely to third. Glad stole second as Andy Burns took a full-count pitch for a strike. Braden Kapteyn flied out to right. After one inning, no score.

Pre-game: UK goes for sweep

It’s a beautiful Sunday for baseball in the Cliff Hagan Stadium neighborhood — sunny, 67 degrees with a 6 mph breeze from right field to left.

Kentucky (21-11, 4-7 Southeastern Conference) is trying for a three-game sweep of Alabama (20-11, 4-7). Game time is 1 p.m.

The Wildcats pulled out a 7-6 victory Friday night and won 8-2 Saturday.

Starting lineups

ALABAMA — CF Taylor Dugas; SS Josh Rutledge; 2B Ross Wilson; 1B Clay Jones; LF Jon Kelton; 3B Jake Smith; DH David Kindred; RF Andrew Miller; C Brock Bennett. Pitching: LH Taylor Wolfe (2-1, 4.01).

KENTUCKY  — 2B Chris Bisson; LF Chad Wright; 1B Gunner Glad; 3B Andy Burns; DH Braden Kapteyn; CF Keenan Wiley; SS Taylor Black; C Marcus Nidiffer; RF Neiko Johnson. Pitching: RH Alex Meyer (4-2, 7.64).

UMPIRES – HP Richie Tallent; 1B Donald Gilmore; 3B Mark Chapman.


Baseball final: Murray 7, Kentucky 5

March 15, 2010

Kentucky scored a run in the ninth and had the bases loaded with no outs, but could not score again as Murray State held on for a 7-5 non-conference baseball game at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Jason Laws

Jason Laws

The Thoroughbreds (as Murray is known in baseball only) put up an unearned run in the top of the second.

Jason Laws reached on a fielding error by first baseman Gunner Glad. DH Colton Moore hit a potential double-play grounder to Neiko Johnson. But the second baseman tried to tag Laws. He missed, dropped the ball, then put his throw towards first base into the UK dugout to put runners on second and third with no outs.

UK right-hander Sam Kidd got Jonathan Craycraft on an infield fly, but Laws scored when Bryan Propst grounded out to short.

Braden Kapteyn

Braden Kapteyn

The Wildcats took little time to tie. Braden Kapteyn led off the bottom of the second with his first homer of the season, lining a shot over the left-field wall.

Wes Cunningham

Wes Cunningham

Murray’s three-run third got going when Zach Noonan drew a one-out walk. He moved to second on Elliot Frey’s single up the middle. Wes Cunningham cashed in with his sixth homer of the year, to the scoreboard in center field.

In the bottom of the inning, UK wasted a two-out double by Chad Wright.

Murray kept up the attack in the fourth, again helped by a UK defensive lapse.

Jonathan Craycraft, out of Henry Clay High School, led off with a ground ball. Second baseman Neiko Johnson bobbled the ball for his second error of the game. Bryan Propst’s single moved Craycraft to second and Cory Hodskins bunted the runners to second and third.

Brandon Elliott’s bloop single down the right-field line scored Craycraft and moved Propst to third. UK Coach Gary Henderson pulled right-hander Sam Kidd in favor of Kapteyn, the DH.

Kapteyn hit the first batter he faced, Noonan, to load the bases, then walked Frey to force in a run.

Another scored on Cunningham’s single to right, making it 7-1.

Only a nifty double play contained the damage, as Kapteyn got Laws to ground into a 3-6-1 (Glad-to-Black-to-Kapteyn) double play to end the inning.

The Wildcats scored a run in the bottom o f the inning. With one out, UK loaded the bases on Cory Farris’ line single off the glove of first baseman Cunningham, a bunt single by Gunner Glad and a Cunningham throwing error that enabled Keenan Wiley to reach base. Farris scored when Michael Williams grounded out to first.

Defensive changes for Kentucky: Glad moves to second base. Coming in to play first, batting in the leadoff spot, is Lance Ray.

In the fifth, Murray loaded the bases with two outs via a walk, error and hit batsman. Nick Kennedy came out of the bullpen to retire Noonan.

Chad Wright

Chad Wright

Gunner Glad

Gunner Glad

UK cut the margin to 7-3 when Chad Wright knocked a one-out homer to the party deck in right-center, his second dinger of the season.

UK’s sixth error of the game helped put Kennedy in a jam in the sixth. With one out and runners at second and third, Kennedy fanned Colton Moore and got Craycraft to ground out.

Glad led off the bottom of the sixth with his third hit of the game — a home run to the scoreboard. Glad has two homers this season.

Neither team scored in the seventh or eighth.

Murray right-hander Dan Huff, who threw more than 130 pitches gave way to Chris Craycraft to start the ninth. Craycraft, a right-hander out of Henry Clay, began his collegiate career with UK.

After Luke Maile drew a leadoff walk, Wright laced his third hit of the game, a single through the right side. Pinch-runner Brian Adams advanced to second. Andy Burns drew a full-count walk to load the bases for pinch-hitter Chris Bisson.

His sharp single to center scored Adams and kept the bases loaded with no outs.

However, a hard-hit grounder by Farris was fielded by Cunningham, who stepped on first and threw home just in time to double-up Wright. Laws, the catcher, did well to hang on to the ball.

Glad flied to left, leaving Murray with the 7-5 win.

Starting lineups

Murray State — Zach Noonan, LF; Elliot Frey, CF; Wes Cunningham, 1B; Jason Laws, C; Colton Moore, DH; Jonathan Craycraft, 2B; Bryan Propst, RF; Cory Hodskins, 3B; Brandon Elliott, SS. Pitching: RH Dan Huff (0-2, 5.60).

Kentucky — Neiko Johnson, 2B; Chad Wright, LF; Andy Burns, 3B; Braden Kapteyn, DH; Cory Farris, RF; Gunner Glad, 1B; Keenan Wiley, CF; Michael Williams, C; Taylor Black, SS. Pitching: RH Sam Kidd (1-0, 6.23).

UmpiresNathan Huber, HP; Brandon Cooper, 1B; Clarence Coleman, 3B.